A perfect sunset. At Willingdon. The dock in silhouette. Photos like these represent the “Best of Powell River” – or at least what many locals think of as the pinnacle, if Instagram and Facebook feeds are any indication.

But there’s so much more to the “best of” this region than the nightly show to the West.

So settle yourself on a log, grab a box full of fish and chips, and strap on your head-lamp so you can keep reading after the sun dips below the horizon. These, dear readers, are what you recommend .

Best of Powell River

CIVIC PRIDE

Best neighbourhood

1. Westview

2. Townsite

3. Cranberry / Wildwood

PRL notes: Westview for the win! Last year, the swiftly-changing Townsite took the top spot. What happened? Did the new restaurants on Marine put Westview over the top? Did the bear and cougar traffic in Townsite drag it down? Also, we were pleased to see so much South of Town pride in the entry forms. Go go Lang Bay!

Best unofficial

city slogan

1. Powell Riviera

2. Powell Rumour

3. Two ferries can’t be wrong

PRL notes: We’ve all heard of the French Riviera – the steamy Mediterranian coastline featuring anything-goes Monaco. And on the West Coast of Mexico, you can roll your pasty white Canadian skin over the sparkling hot white shores and blend riiiight in. But Powell Riviera? The Canadian Riviera? Is Powell River sexy enough to be a “riviera?”

Best event

1. Blackberry Fest

2. Logger Sports

3. PRISMA

PRL notes: By many, many votes, Blackberry Fest took tops in this category. And… it’s nearly here! Check out Page 36 for the full schedule.

Best politican

1. MLA NicHolas Simons

2. City CounciLlor Russell Brewer

3. Mayor Dave Formosa

PRL notes: Nick Picked! Our duck-bike riding,  cello-playing, child protection-investigation-writing 12-year MLA was shut out of cabinet the first time the NDP was in office since 2001. Should he have been the Minister of Arts? Minister of MCFD? Minister of Looking Adorable in a Suit? Clearly he will always have a place in the cabinet… of our hearts. (Though he will be chairing the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth – an ideal post for his background.)

Best tourist attraction

1. Sunshine Coast Trail

2. Willingdon Beach

3. Lund

Best activist group

1. Let’s Talk Trash

2. BOMB squad

3. SPCA

PRL notes: A debate here in the PRL office: if your group is not only primarily funded by government – but is also a project of government to further government goals – can it be considered an activist group? Let’s Talk Trash does some seriously radical environmental work… though under the umbrella of the Powell River Regional District. Does it matter? Zero waste, trail-building and animal welfare: those are three very cuddly activist groups, Powell River.

Best local souvenir

1. Pollen Sweater

2. Townsite Beer

3. Thick T-shirt

4. Beach glass / flower rock

Best answers: Oyster shells; pebble; sunset photo; a suntan; moonsnail shell; cedar rose; mermaid.

Best kept secret

1. “I’m not telling”

2. Mahood’s Beach

3. Dinner Rock

Best thing when you’re broke

1. Beach

2. Hiking

3. Sunsets

PRL notes: This is important. Because with a malingering Powell River median income of about $36,000 per tax-filer, contentedness must be found outside the Lexus dealership. The beach, the woods and the sunsets deliver (see left).

Best thing when you’re flush

1. Eat at a restaurant

2. Shop for local art

3. Afford the ferry

PRL notes: Hey Horgan: you are now officially Premier. A whole bunch of local smart-alecks wrote “afford the ferry” as their #richpersongoals. The NDP’s promise to freeze fares and roll them back 15 percent on some routes is a pretty paltry answer to the gargantuan user fees the province charges on our marine highways. So may we suggest you solve two #socialistgoverningproblems at once? Simply make the ferries free… floating childcare centres. You’re welcome.

ARTS

Best book by a local author

1. Written as I remember it, by Elsie Paul

2. The Charming Predator, by Lee Mackenzie

3. Up the Lake, by Wayne Lutz

Best local band

1. Lukah Bouchard

2. Sam Hurrie

3. Walter Martella

Best place to watch live music

1. McKinney’s Pub & EAtery

2. Willingdon Beach

3. Palm Beach

Best Web designer

1. Ryan Thompson, Leaven Agency

2. Melany Hallam, Maywood Design

Best place to shake your booty

1. The Zoo at the Westview

2. McKinney’s Pub & Eatery

3. At home

Best answers: Sheridan Dance Academy; the pool; Lund Gazebo; The Vale.

Best music teacher

1. Paul Cummings

2. Walter Martella

3. Roy Carson

PRL notes: Because many, many music teachers were nominated for this category, we’re guessing that there are many, many very skilled teachers here who take on limited students. – thus spreading out the vote. Lots of talented people here.

Best jewellery designer

1. Thick

2. Jo’mamma / Juniper Dragon

3. Enchanted Tree

Best visual artist

1. Autumn Skye Morrison

2. Meghan Hildebrand

3. Anna May Bennett

Best slam poet

1. Andrea Layne Black

2. Joseph McLean

3. Sonya Zagwyn

Best Facebooker

1. Joseph McLean

2. Ari Dublion

Best gallery

1. Artique

2. Dancing Tree

3. Wind Spirit

Best farmer’s market – crafts

1. Huber Ink

2. Sweet earth Soap

3. Earth Inspirations Pottery

Best locally-designed t-shirt

1. Thick – various

2. It’s Only Steam

3. Filet and Release

OUTDOORS

Best place for a run

1. Seawalk

2. Timberlane Track

3. Willingdon Trail

Best hike with kids

1. Valentine Mountain

2. Inland Lake

3. Trinket Trail / Willingdon Trail

Best hike for a sweat

1. Scout Mountain

2. Tin Hat

3. Valentine Mountain

Best bike trail

1. Penticton Trails

2. Suicide Creek

3. Death Rattle

Best dog park / area

1. Townsite Park

2. The new one on Joyce

3. Larry Gouthro

PRL notes: Uh oh. The region’s favourite dog park is the one that will soon no longer accommodate dogs?

Best beach for a swim

1. Mahood’s

2. Mowat Bay

3. Donkersley

Best campground

1. Haywire Bay

2. Willingdon Beach

3. Inland Lake

Best Zunga

1. Second Beach

2. Powell Lake

3. Rec Complex Pool

Best diving Spot

1. Mermaid Cove

2. Eagle River

3. Diver’s Rock

Best Hut

1. Tin Hat

2. Manzanita

3. Walt Hill

Best fishing spot

1. Grant’s Reef

2. Coho Point

3. Rebecca Reef

Best place to enjoy the rain

1. At home

2. Hiking / in the forest

3. Seawalk

FOOD

Best local cocktail

1. River City Breeze  – Coastal Cookery

2. Margarita – Costa Del Sol

3. Margarita – Iguana’s Mexican Grill

Best local beer

1. Zunga

2. Suncoast

3. Perfect Storm

PRL notes: Perhaps 2017 is the last year Townsite Brewing has this category so completely in the bag. Next year, the Red Lion is planning to open a microbrewery on site.

Best Fish & Chips

1. The Boardwalk

2. Skeeter Jacks

3. Fish & Chix

PRL notes: More people voted in this category than in any other category except for “best neighbourhood.” Is ‘fish & chips’ the official food of Powell River?

Best other local seafood

1. Laughing Oyster buffet

2. Costa Del Sol fish tacos

3. Mussels at Coastal Cookery

Best Burger

1. Coastal Cookery – Mike’s Meaty Backyard

2. Striker’s – Big Crunch

3. A&W – Teen

PRL notes: These are just three great burgers for three very different reasons.  We also recommend the burger at the Modern Peasant.

Best Patio

1. Savoury Bight (note: The Savoury Bight is currently closed for renovations. The owners tell us they will be reopening this month “under NEW management with some very exciting changes.”)

2. Costa Del Sol

3. Shinglemill

Best Salad

1. Coastal Cookery – Backwoods Greens

2. Treefrog Bistro – Humboldt Squid Salad

3. Fruits & Roots – Falafel Salad Bowl / River City – RCC Salad

Best cheap / free food

1. Foraging for blackberries, oysters, etc

2. Community Resource Centre

3. United Church Spaghetti Dinner / Food Bank / Farmer’s Market Vouchers

Best restaurant if you have more than $100 to spend

1. Laughing Oyster

2. Coastal Cookery

3. Royal Zayka

Best ice cream

1. Putters

2. Sassy Mack’s

3. Beach Hut / Pacific Point

Best Dessert

1. Key Lime Pie – COsta Del Sol

2. Bear Tooth Pie – Shinglemill

3. Chocolate Waffle – Coastal Cookery

Best appetizer

1. Calamari – Coastal Cookery

2. Wings – The Shinglemill

3. Nachitoes – Costa Del Sol

PRL notes: Truly, if you haven’t tried Coastal’s incredible calamari, you must. Right now. The little deep-fried bits of onion and jalepeno take an otherwise delicious dish and skyrocket it right into hip-casual culinary legend.

Best take-out

1. Thaidal Zone

2. Vietnamese Cuisine Restaurant

3. Iguana’s

Best Buffet

1. Laughing Oyster

2. Royal Zayka

3. Dragon House

PRL notes: Buffet is tricky. It must be hot and fresh, uncompromisingly flavoured, and still look good after 20 people have poked it with a spoon.

Best restaurant for romance

1. Laughing Oyster

2. Coastal Cookery

3. Little Hut Curry

Best restaurant to impress visiting guests

1. Laughing Oyster

2. Coastal Cookery

3. Shinglemill

Best Server

1. Mohinder Singh – Little Hut Curry

2. Alyssa McLeod – Striker’s

3. Haley Smith – Magpie’s

Most Vegetarian-friendly restaurant

1. Fruits & Roots

2. Royal Zayka / Little Hut Curry

3. Vietnamese

Best food on BC Ferries

1. There is none / snarky

2. Fries

3. Chicken strips

Best kid-friendly restaurant

1. Moose & Eddie’s

2. Magpie’s

3. River City

Best Brunch

1. Magpie’s

2. Edie Rae’s

3. Julie’s Airport

Best produce

1. Farmer’s Market

2. Save on Foods

3. Safeway

Best Coffee Scene

1. River City Coffee

2. Base Camp

3. Starbucks

PRL notes: This is the most hotly-contested category in the whole Best Of. It was last year too. River City and Base Camp are close… close enough we did a re-count. Interestingly, online voters prefer Base Camp, but those who voted on paper overwhelmingly preferred River City.

Best groceries – price

1. Save On Foods

2. Quality Foods

3. Safeway

Best groceries – overall

1. Save on Foods

2. Quality Foods

3. Safeway

Best Pizza

1. Papparazzi

2. Granada

3. Snickers / Haylstonz

PRL notes: Four great pies, all locally-owned restaurants. How many cities can say that?

Best place to assemble a cheese plate

1. Quality Foods

2. Safeway

3. Chopping Block

Best Campfire Food

1. Chopping Block’s smokies

2. Mitchell Bros.

3. Marshmallows

PRL notes: Irrelevant this wildfire-ridden summer, but come fall, campfires will be back. Chopping Block smokies are one of the iconic Powell River foods. The big, meaty, juicy smokies come in cheddar and bacon, hot and sweet, plain, deer meat and other choices. What would William and Kate eat in Powell River? These.

RETAIL

Best gifts

1. Paperworks

2. Thick

3. Mother Nature / Hindle’s

Best live plants

1. Springtime

2. Mother Nature

3. Farmer’s Market

Best men’s clothing

1. Armitage

2. Anderson’s

3. Marks

Best women’s clothing

1. The Knack

2. Fits to a T

3. Sublime / Blue Sky

Best Jewellery Store

1. People’s

2. Paperworks

3. Nitestar Galleries

Best Spiritual Experience

1. Walking in the woods / sunsets / beaches

2. Churches & Labyrinth

3. Yoga / drugs

PRL notes: Surprisingly, relatively few people voted for ‘church’ as a top spiritual experience – even though, on the census, half of locals claim to be Christian. Nature handily won this category. Nearly as many voted for marijuana and yoga as “Best Spiritual Experience” as voted for church (if we hadn’t included the labyrinth in the ‘church’ category, drugs and yoga would have been in 2nd place). Any thoughts on this, faith leaders / yogis / potheads? Please write in.

Best Financial Institution

1. First Credit Union

2. RBC

3. Scotia Bank

Best Home Furnishings

1. Westcoast Furniture

2. Home Hardware
@ Mitchell Bros.

3. The Brick

Best Sporting Goods

1. Taws

2. Locker Room

3. PRO

Best Outdoor Goods

1. Powell river outdoors

2. Canadian Tire

3. Marine Traders

Best booze

1. Townsite Brewing

2. Capone’s

3. Duke’s

Best gas station

1. Shell

2. VanderKEmps

3. Chevron

Best used stuff

1. Health Care Auxiliary Economy Shop

2. Powell River Swap ‘n’ Shop

3. MCC

Best Massage

1. Koastal

2. Westview

3. Malaspina

Best thing from
a local garage sale

Best answers: a $150 pillow for 50 cents; an Emily Carr painting; banjo; paddle boat; head massager; gravy stirrer; classical guitar and case for $20; fake foot; milking bucket; love seat and couch that match; a friend.

Best yoga

1. Nourish @ T-fit

2. Coast

3. Elements Movement

Best work-out

1. Coast Fitness

2. Recreation Complex

3. T-fit

Best answers: Dodging goose poop; hill at the Mill; beer league hockey.

Best weed

1. Grassroots Botanical Cooperative

2. WeeMed

3. Texada Timewarp

Best answers: The kind your parents don’t find; in my lungs.

Best Dentist

1. Dr. Smillie

2. Dr. Machin

3. Dr. Needham

Best Hair Guru

1. Holly Lowes, Afterglow

2. Stephanie, NuEssence

3. Andra at Scissors / Caroline at Bliss

Best Spa Services

1. Beyond Bliss

2. Nu Essence

3. Image 1

 

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